As Pierre LeBrun explained on last night’s Insider Trading on TSN, there is some pushback on the 24-team playoff format preferred by the league in order to resume play. It has been made known that teams are upset that the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens will get in, meaning teams could get eliminated in a few games by a well-rested Carey Price in the opening round. On top of that, top teams aren’t happy with the idea of sitting around while everyone below them gets meaningful games.
Insider Elliotte Friedman thought about it and has suggested a brilliant plan that can address some of those concerns in his latest 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet:
METROPOLITAN HUB: Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Islanders, Columbus
ATLANTIC HUB: Boston, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Florida, Montreal, Rangers (added as lowest seed from Metropolitan — Bruins are top-ranked in East, and should have that reward in their hub)
CENTRAL HUB: St. Louis, Colorado, Dallas, Winnipeg, Nashville, Chicago (Blackhawks stay in Central because Blues are top-ranked in West)
PACIFIC HUB: Vegas, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Arizona, Minnesota
The first round “becomes” a five-game round robin — with a handicap by standings at arrival of the pause. Based on points percentage, the seeds could be given from 10 points (first) to 0 (sixth) at the start. If you think that’s too much, maybe go from five points to zero. That way, every team that comes back gets a minimum of five games.
Top four move on to the next round, and decide if we’re dealing with best-of-five or best-of-seven from then on.
What do you say?